Road Stories Blog

Community Profile: Bemidji, MN

By Emily Anderson

Bemidji, Minnesota is a city of 13,431 residents in the North Woods of Minnesota. Only a few miles away from the starting point of the Mississippi River, Bemidji is known for the natural beauty of its woods and lakes and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Community Profile: Medina, Ohio

By Stephen Manuszak

Founded as the seat of Medina County in 1818, the city of Medina was originally named Mecca, after the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. Because another Ohio town already had the name Mecca, the name was changed to Medina after another Saudi Arabian city. Most of Medina’s early residents were farmers, but the community grew significantly in the 1830s with the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was constructed to connect waterways with Lake Erie and carry freight traffic throughout Ohio.

Brazil Study Guides

By Emily Anderson

With the FIFA World Cup kicking off, you may be hearing a lot about Brazil in the news. Did you know that a third of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil? Have you ever wondered what Carnival is about? Check out our study guides to learn more about Brazil, a country with vibrant cities and pristine rainforests.

Community Profile: DeKalb, Illinois

By Stephen Manuszak

Named after the decorated war hero Johann de Kalb, who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, the city of DeKalb, Illinois, is home to more than 43,000 residents. The city was founded in 1837 as a small community along the Kishwaukee River, but DeKalb grew significantly after the arrival of the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1853.

Agriculture was a large part of the city’s early economy, and DeKalb’s central location made it easy to ship crops and access larger markets.

Community Profile: Sisseton, South Dakota

By Emily Anderson

Sisseton is a city of 2,470 people situated in northeastern South Dakota on the Lake Traverse Reservation. The reservation is home to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate—the word “Oyate” means “people” or “nation” in the Dakota language—which includes more than 10,400 members of the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Dakota people. The Dakota people are a subdivision of the Sioux, who are native people of Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. The reservation that became the present day home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate was established in 1851 by the Treaty of Traverse de Sioux.

Community Profile: Orange City, Iowa

By Emily Anderson

The European feel of Orange City, Iowa, was a pleasant surprise for both Baladino and Le Vent Du Nord during their residencies as part of the 2013–2015 season of Arts Midwest World Fest. Orange City is a small community of 6,004 residents located in northwestern Iowa. It is the seat of Sioux County, and in addition to headquartering several major companies, it is home to Northwestern College, a small liberal arts college known for a strong theater department.

Community Profile: Grand Forks, North Dakota

By Stephen Manuszak

Grand Forks, North Dakota has a population of 52,000 and traces its history back to the 1800s when fur and other commodities were traded in the area. The city was officially founded in 1870 by steamboat captain Alexander Griggs. Fur trading eventually gave way to agriculture, which is still an important part of the local economy along with higher education, national defense, health care, manufacturing, food processing, and scientific research.

Community Profile: Northwestern Wisconsin

By Stephen Manuszak

Several communities in Northwestern Wisconsin have banded together to host the 2013–2015 season of Arts Midwest World Fest, including Rice Lake, Cumberland, Shell Lake, and Barron. These cities feature an array of unique arts and cultural activities as well as a scenic environment and burgeoning industries.

With approximately 8,400 residents, the city of Rice Lake is the largest community in Barron County and serves as a center for commerce, manufacturing, health, and educational services. Located in the beautiful Red Cedar River valley, Rice Lake boasts an abundance of lakes and trails.

A hearty “bon voyage” to Le Vent du Nord

By Emily Anderson

With their Arts Midwest World Fest tour concluded, Le Vent du Nord has returned to their homes in Québec, Canada. We’ve learned so much about Québecois culture this year, beginning with the history of French settlement of Québec and some essential background on poutine in the study guides. Le Vent du Nord proved to be a festive and easygoing ensemble—true professionals.

A fond farewell to Baladino

By Stephen Manuszak

Even before they arrived, we started learning about Baladino’s music and the country of Israel with the Arts Midwest World Fest study guides. We also interviewed Yonnie Dror to find out what he was looking forward to on his U.S. tour and how we started playing music.